CHANGE! 53 Days Later Obama Administration Decides to Accept Dutch Offer to Help With Spill

by Jim Hoft

Remember: The Gulf Oil Spill Is Like 9-11

Three days after the Gulf oil rig explosion, the Netherlands offered to send in oil skimmers to pump oil off of the surface of the ocean. The Obama Administration turned them down because they were not 100% efficient and small amounts of oil would be pumped back into the Gulf with the excess water. EPA regulations do not allow for residue water to contain any oil. So rather than use equipment that was not 100% efficient the Obama Administration chose to let all of the oil run into the Gulf.

This is not just bad policy, it is criminal.

Since the Obama Administration turned down assistance from The Netherlands at least 125 miles of Louisiana coastline has been ruined by the BP oil spill. Tar blobs began washing up on Florida’s white sand beaches near Pensacola days ago. And, crude oil has also been reported along barrier islands in Alabama and Mississippi.

Clean-up workers pick up blobs of oil in absorbent snare on Queen Bess Island at the mouth of Barataria Bay near the Gulf of Mexico in Plaquemines Parish, La., Friday, June 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The Examiner reported, via Free Republic:

The U.S. Government has apparently reconsidered a Dutch offer to supply 4 oil skimmers. These are large arms that are attached to oil tankers that pump oil and water from the surface of the ocean into the tanker. Water pumped into the tanker will settle to the bottom of the tanker and is then pumped back into the ocean to make room for more oil. Each system will collect 5,000 tons of oil each day.

One ton of oil is about 7.3 barrels. 5,000 tons per day is 36,500 barrels per day. 4 skimmers have a capacity of 146,000 barrels per day. That is much greater than the high end estimate of the leak. The skimmers work best in calm water, which is the usual condition this time of year in the gulf.

These systems were developed by the Dutch as a safety system in case of oil spills from either wells or tankers. The Dutch have off shore oil development and also import oil in tankers. Their economy, just like ours, runs on oil. They understand that the production and use of oil has dangers and they wanted to be ready to cope with problems like spills. The Dutch system has been used successfully in Europe.

The Dutch offered to fly their skimmer arm systems to the Gulf 3 days after the oil spill started. The offer was apparently turned down because EPA regulations do not allow water with oil to be pumped back into the ocean. If all the oily water was retained in the tanker, the capacity of the system would be greatly diminished because most of what is pumped into the tanker is sea water.

As of June 8th, BP reported that they have collected 64,650 barrels of oil in the Gulf. That is only a fraction of the amount of oil spilled from the well. That is less than one day’s rated capacity of the Dutch oil skimmers.

Turning down the Dutch skimmers just shows a total lack of leadership in the oil spill.

The Obama Administration turned down offers to help clean up the spill from The Netherlands and the British Government just days after the explosion. They didn’t accept the British help because they didn’t have the proper paperwork. The administration still has not given the OK to allow emergency workers to use a Maine company’s oil boom even though they were made aware of the warehouse full of containment boom back on May 21.

Custody Battle Keeps Arizona Mom and Daughter Stuck in Bahrain

Yazmin Maribel Bautista, left, and her daughter, Fatima Sadiq Al-Saffar.

By Joshua Rhett Miller

EXCLUSIVE: Yazmin Maribel Bautista wants desperately to get out of Bahrain, but she says she won’t return home to the U.S. without her 5-year-old daughter — and that’s something her ex-husband says will never happen.

Bautista, 43, of Phoenix, is locked in a bitter child custody dispute with her 28-year-old ex-husband, Sadiq Jaffar Al-Saffar, over their daughter Fatima, who was born in 2004 when her parents lived in Arizona.

Fatima wasn’t even 2 years old when her father left her mother and went home to his native Bahrain, where he got engaged to a much younger woman. But despite having been abandoned, Bautista traveled to visit with her ex-husband in Bahrain last year, lured by the promise of a new job and a chance for her daughter to spend time with her father — an information technology worker — in his native country.

But now that his ex-wife and daughter are in Bahrain, Al-Saffar has filed for custody of the little girl — and a judge in the small Mideast country has ruled that the little girl, a native-born American, cannot go home with her mom.

Bautista, who also has a son from a previous relationship, says she and Fatima were blocked from leaving Bahrain on two occasions last year — on Sept. 26 and Oct. 19. On one occasion, she said, officials from the U.S. Embassy there advised her to speak with a judge after clearing immigration.

“Once you talk to him, you and Fatima can go your way,” Bautista recalled the embassy official saying.

But “[t]he judge told me Fatima could not leave Bahrain because her father did not want her to leave,” Bautista says. “They told me, ‘If you want to leave, you can leave. But the girl stays.’ Obviously, I wasn’t going to leave my baby.”

That “nightmare,” as Bautista calls it, occurred nine months ago, and it caught the eye of her senator, John McCain, who sent a letter in January to Bahraini Ambassador Houde Erza Ebrahim Nonoo, urging her to “expeditiously resolve” the custody dispute and allow Bautista and Fatima to return home. State Department officials in Washington also are closely following the case.

Alongside her daughter, who she said cries constantly and has too many “blue days” away from home, a broke, unemployed and nearly broken Bautista said in an interview that she continues to stay with friends in Bahrain while awaiting her next court date on June 23. That’s when witnesses will be asked to testify on her competency as a mother, she said.

“Fatima is not the same little girl she was when she arrived in Bahrain,” Bautista said. “She has crying spells. She misses home, she misses her brother. That’s where our home is — our home is in Arizona.”

Al-Saffar, meanwhile, accused Bautista of not adhering to their custodial arrangement, which grants him custody of Fatima three days a week. He is now seeking full custody of the little girl, he told

“What she’s trying to do is take my daughter back to Phoenix so I cannot see her,” Al-Saffar said. “She just wants to take my daughter and leave. She’s completely abandoning me from my daughter.”

Al-Saffar said he hasn’t seen Fatima for more than a month, and the ongoing turmoil is “not something that’s good” for his daughter. He claims Bautista tried to leave the country without his knowledge after he arranged a teaching job for her last August.

“She did not even call me to let me say goodbye to my daughter,” Al-Saffar said. “I did not even know she was taking my daughter and actually leaving.”

Al-Saffar said he learned of Bautista’s attempt to leave the country only because he received an e-mail notification related to the airline ticket he purchased for her.

“If she were to have left, I would have never seen my daughter again,” he said. “I will never get a visa.”

Al-Saffar denied allegations that he lured his ex-wife to Bahrain under the pretense of setting her up with a job and a place to stay in his family’s residence with the intention of trapping her there.

“I do confirm that this is not true,” he said. “Why would I wait until the last minute?”

Bautista said she and Al-Saffar met in early 2004 at a café in Tempe, Ariz. She said Al-Saffar, a student at Arizona State University, told one of her friends that he was interested in her. On May 27, 2004, they married in a civil court ceremony. Bautista was five-months pregnant at the time, she said.

“We had good times at the beginning,” she said. “We tried to have a happy life; to have a happy relationship.”

She said she supported the family while her husband studied computer engineering
. Fatima was born on Oct. 14, 2004, just months before Al-Saffar’s graduation.

The first sign of trouble came when Al-Saffar’s father came to visit from Bahrain, Bautista said. She said her husband’s family was unaware that the two had married and that they had a baby daughter.

“I really don’t know what my husband told his father at the time, but I told him, ‘We are a family now, we have Fatima,'” she said. “He was hiding Fatima from [his family] as well. I wanted him to tell his family that he’s a married man with a daughter.”

Al-Saffar traveled to Bahrain in January 2005, only to return to Phoenix in April, when he got a job working at an airline. He returned to Bahrain in September 2005, Bautista said. It was at the airport, she says, that she found out it was the beginning of the end.

“He told me, ‘By the way, I am not coming back, I am staying in Bahrain,'” she said. “I asked him to please stay until her first birthday, but he said, ‘I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.'”

Aside from sporadic phone calls, Bautista said she did not hear from Al-Saffar again until February 2006, when he returned to Phoenix to spend two weeks with his sister. She said Al-Saffar declined to take her and Fatima back to Bahrain, and she said her sister-in-law told her she would never be part of their Muslim family.

Al-Saffar left Arizona again and returned in September 2006 — this time as a newly engaged man. At the time, Bautista said she no idea that her husband had found love elsewhere.

“He used my house like a hotel, he slept there but spent all his time with his friends,” she said. “He was acting different, so I asked him, ‘Do you have somebody else?'”

Al-Saffar told he became engaged to his second wife in early 2006 but waited until 2008 to remarry in Bahrain. Bautista says Al-Saffar admitted to marrying someone else as early as April 2006.

“She is a Muslim and, of course, she’s younger,” Bautista said of Al-Saffar’s 24-year-old wife. “He actually took me for a ride. Was he planning this from the beginning? Probably — I believe it was a game to him. ”

Bautista filed for divorce in 2008 and, by last August, the couple had been working on a plan to unite Fatima with her father and to arrange a job for Bautista, who was unemployed at the time. On the promise of an apartment, a job and other amenities, Bautista agreed to go to Bahrain to “see how it was,” she said.

“I left my family, my friends and my son to give it a try, to bring Fatima to her father,” she said. “I was very naïve, yes, I know. And, like an idiot, I went back to Bahrain with my daughter.”

Once at the Al-Saffar home, Bautista said her ex-husband’s relatives told her she was not to be alone in the same room with Al-Saffar, and they accused her of trying to ruin his new marriage.

“They weren’t accepting of me,” she said. “They wanted to take my daughter from me.”

The hostile living situation ultimately drove her to live in a hotel, and eventually in a homeless shelter when funds ran dry.

“That was the most depressing thing that I’ve gone through,” Bautista said. “I had never set foot in a shelter before.”

Bautista’s plight caught McCain’s attention in January, when he wrote to Bahrain’s ambassador calling for “urgent personal attention” to the matter.

“Ms. Bautista contends that she, not Mr. Al-Saffar, is the legal custodian of their daughter,” McCain’s letter read. “She states that she was granted both a legal divorce from Mr. Al-Saffar and sole custody of Fatima by the Superior Court of Arizona in the United States of America. Ms. Bautista further notes that Mr. Al-Saffar signed legal documentation acknowledging that he was aware of said legal proceedings in Arizona and that he agreed to submit to the court’s jurisdiction.”

Through a spokeswoman, McCain declined comment for this article, including whether embassy officials had responded to his inquiry.

Sahar Hakeem, Ambassador Nonoo’s secretary, said the ambassador was out of the country due to a medical issue and was unreachable. Hakeem had told on Tuesday that “no one” in the embassy in Washington was aware of Bautista’s case.

Andy Laine, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of State, said the agency and the U.S. Embassy in Manama were “closely” following the case.

“The U.S. Embassy in Manama continues to raise this case with the government of Bahrain to ensure it receives the attention it deserves,” Laine wrote

Meanwhile, Edgar Bautista, Yazmin Bautista’s 24-year-old son, is hopeful he will soon be reunited with his mother and half-sister. They have not spoken in more than two weeks, he said.

“It’s kind of hard to keep in touch,” he told “I just want my mom and my sister to come back home to Phoenix, to just come back to their regular lives and more forward.”

Bautista said she wants the exact same thing for her daughter.

“This is not life for us,” she said. “We’re going back.”

New rules could make 66 percent of employer plans lose ‘grandfathered’ status

President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

By Paul Conner

New rules from the Obama administration that regulate health care plans that existed before the reform bill was passed highlight the difficulty the administration faces in both reforming the system and allowing people to keep the plans they like.

Under new regulations issued Monday, anywhere from 39 percent to 66 percent of employer plans will lose their “grandfathered status” by 2013, according to estimates included with the rules.

For plans that do not fall under the grandfathered status, employers would have to find a plan that complies with the health care bill passed March 23. Whether or not costs for the new plans will be less than grandfathered plans has yet to be seen.

Small businesses would be harder hit than large employers, losing grandfathered status for as few as 49 percent and as many as 80 percent of plans. Employers may keep their plan if it does not raise its prices beyond “reasonable changes” and if it does not cut substantially cut benefits for a particular condition.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reiterated a saying that President Obama said many times during the health care debate: “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it,” Sebelius said at a press conference Tuesday.

But experts say the new regulations reflect the limits to which that promise can be kept.

“Given the direction that President Obama wanted to go with health care, his promise that people could keep their existing plans was always a dicey one,” said Tevi Troy, former HHS deputy secretary under President Bush and visiting senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

The administration said that it would “take into account reasonable changes” that insurers routinely make in response to changes in cost and availability but would not outline details about what “reasonable changes” might be.

The regulations stipulate that insurers may make changes to their plans, but only to increase benefits or adapt to consumer protections outlined in the health care bill.

“They give all Americans with health insurance some important protections this year and create a path to the consumer-friendly health insurance marketplace of the future,” Sebelius said.

The new rules mandate that new individuals may not be added to grandfathered health plans after a business merger or restructuring so that grandfather status is not traded as a commodity. Thus companies will likely have employees with two different types of health care coverage, if the companies stay with their current plan.

Troy anticipates that insurance companies will try to freeze their plans to retain their grandfathered status for as long as possible.

“Freezing is not sustainable,” Troy told the Daily Caller. “The majority of plans will lose their grandfathered status in relatively short order, which I suspect was the unstated intent of both the legislators and the regulators.”

Police seize 100,000 anti-Vladimir Putin books/1984: Here We Come…

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin Photo: BLOOMBERG

Russian police seized 100,000 copies of a book critical of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that activists planned to hand out at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Copies of ‘Putin. The Results. 10 Years on’, written by opposition politicians Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov were “intended for participants of the forum”, starting Thursday, according to Olga Kurnosova, head of the city’s branch of the opposition United Civic Front, said.

The reasons for the seizure “are not very clear”, she said.

The book, which has a total print-run of one million copies, aims to “tell the truth about the real results of the leadership of Putin and the tandem”, Mr Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, wrote in his blog on Monday.

Mr Putin served two terms as president from 2000 onwards before being elected as prime minister. He is still viewed as Russia’s strongest political figure in a power tandem with his ally President Dmitry Medvedev.

Earlier this month, Mr Putin said that he supported opposition protests as long as they were within the law.

“Without a normal democratic development this country will have no future,” he said at a televised meeting with prominent arts figures.

Mr Nemtsov presented the book about Mr Putin in Moscow on Monday. Last year he published a similar book about Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, who won a libel case and forced him to retract a statement about corruption in the city hall.

Tea party readies for harsh scrutiny


Journalists may write the first draft of history, but the chapter on the tea party has already gone through more than a few revisions.

In the 14 months or so since the tear party burst onto the political horizon, it was first ignored by the mainstream media, then written off as Astroturf, before being breathlessly chronicled, and finally given a mixed report card on its actual political effectiveness.

And now the institutions in charge of history’s second draft – big-time publishing houses, documentary filmmakers and academia – are promising to make sense of it all in a series of books, conferences and documentaries in the months just before and after the critical 2010 midterm elections.

If early indications are any guide, though, tea partiers might be just as displeased with the tone of most of the coming analyses as they were with the mainstream media coverage of their movement, which many contend has unfairly cast them as angry and extremist, not to mention racist, homophobic, misogynistic and paranoid.

Of the four tea party books scheduled for release between August and next spring by big-time publishers, all but one – “Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto,” by movement leaders Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe – appear likely to take a less-than-flattering approach. The other three are by authors whose prior dispatches on the tea party have come under criticism from conservatives: Kate Zernike of the New York Times, Thomas Frank, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, and Jill Lepore, a Harvard history professor and New Yorker staff writer.

Frank, a self-described liberal whose 2004 best-seller “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” chronicled the rise of conservative populism, is the first to acknowledge that some of the criticism of liberal writing on the tea party might be justified.

“The fact is that a lot of liberal commentary on the right is rubbish, let’s be straightforward here,” said Frank. “It frustrates me to hear other people on the left just brush all this off as so much racism – it’s such a huge misunderstanding.”

Frank described his untitled book, set to be released next spring by Henry Holt and Company’s Metropolitan imprint, as something of a window into the new right for liberals. He said that “one of the things that I’ve always aimed to do in my writing is to actually read the conservative magazines and the websites and the books.”

The blurb circulating in the publishing world describing Frank’s book says it will analyze “the resurgence of conservatism in 2010, explaining how the right positioned itself to profit from the economic crisis, why it has flourished despite its discredited ideology, and what its revival means for America’s future.”

Lepore – who studies the history of colonial, Revolutionary and antebellum America – said her book, set to be published in October by Princeton University Press, takes a “more historical than political” perspective. It examines “the long tradition … of political movements and political candidates cloaking themselves in the Revolution – why people do this, how it works, and whether there’s anything new about what’s going on now,” she explained. The tea party movement has not faithfully applied the language and symbols of the Revolution, she said, “But what would a faithful application be, anyway?”

Zernike – who covered the movement for the Times before taking vacation time to write “Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America” (set for September publication by Times Books, another Henry Holt imprint) – described her perspective as “curious, which is what I think and hope readers will be.”

Though she conceded that “some conservatives are always going to assume that the New York Times won’t be fair to them,” she added “I’ve had many people in the movement tell me they think my coverage has been fair.” And she said her book is not intended as a warning about any potentially pernicious impacts of the tea party movement on American politics, but rather as an examination of “what it’s about and how it’s organizing, because it reflects sentiments that have been with us for a long time and that are not going to go away quickly.”

An ominous tone does run through a documentary called “Rise of the New Right” from MSNBC’s “Hardball,” set to air Wednesday, which concludes with a “warning” from host Chris Matthews.

“What’s scary today is the language thrown about. Words have consequences,” Matthews says in the documentary’s conclusion. “You cannot call a president’s policies ‘un-American’ as Sarah Palin has done, or refer to the elected government as a ‘regime’ as rush Limbaugh persists in doing, or the president as a foreign usurper as the birthers do, without giving license on some day to real trouble”

Though it includes interviews with leading tea party leaders such as Kentucky Senate candidate Rand Paul and Armey, and sympathetic profiles of two suburban tea party activists, it also weaves in segments featuring fringe figures whose activities pre-date or are mostly unconnected to the tea party movement, such as New World Order conspiracist Alex Jones and a group of Michigan militiamen, as well as an interview with Birther champion Orly Taitz.

In an email to POLITICO, Matthews said the tea party has helped convey a sense that “the American government is somehow attacking the American people.”

Such a worldview reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of federal government, he wrote, asserting “anyone who knows how things work in Washington knows that there is not some monolith ‘the government.’ … The new right seems to argue that this is a battle between the American people and their own government, which suggests you can’t reform it, you can’t change leaders or representatives, that there is something wrong with the ‘government’ itself.”

A planned documentary for the PBS public affairs series “Frontline” was put on hold after producers conducted a month of research, including traveling to the self-titled National Tea Party Convention in February in Nashville to tape interviews with reporters covering the movement (including this one) and activists.

“We thought that after the election, when we see what happens, we may even have a stronger film that looks at the behind the scenes of what went on to motivate this movement in a really thought-provoking way,” said Frontline senior producer Raney Aronson.

Academia, which moves even more deliberately, has also turned its attention to the movement, with an October conference planned by the Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements at the University of California at Berkeley.

The conference includes a panel called “Tapping into Fear, Anger and Resentment: The Tea Party and the Climate of Threat,” and one called “New Forms of Activism on the Right: The Tea Party—Emergence of a Movement?” featuring Christopher Parker, a University of Washington political science professor who helped lead a massive poll this year that got a lot of buzz for its finding of a high correlation between tea party sympathies and resentment towards racial minorities.

Parker, who is in talks with Princeton University Press about a book deal, predicted his project “is probably going to reinforce what liberals – people who watch Maddow and Olbermann – already think.”

His book proposal, which Parker is hoping will result in publication in the Summer of 2012, “is not going to be what people who support the tea party want to hear,” he said. “But for people in the middle – people who are moderate or independent – I want to give them a better idea of what the tea party supporters are about, using really good data that’s done really methodologically.

Perhaps the tea party book with the best chance to post big sales is Armey and Kibbe’s “Give Us Liberty,” set to be published in August by Random House’s William Morrow imprint.

Armey, who kicked off his book promotion efforts Wednesday at a lunch sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, is the most marketable author of the bunch. But perhaps more significantly, the non-profit group run by Armey and Kibbe, FreedomWorks, has perhaps unparalleled connections in the tea party that could help it sell books. The group, which will receive all proceeds from the book, has already sent emails promoting it to a 550,000-address email list. It also is a paying sponsor of the syndicated radio show of fiery right-wing talker Glenn Beck, a hero in the tea party movement whose promotions have catapulted many conservative books up the best seller lists.

At the lunch, Armey said his book “seeks to explain this movement – where it came from, how it came to be, what it does, who these folks are. And it dispels a lot of the fiction and the misperception regarding these people and what they’re up to.”

Kibbe, the FreedomWorks president, said liberals may not be as inclined to buy it, or any other book on the tea party, unless it peresented tea partiers as “a bunch of knuckle-dragging racists.”

The tea party phenomenon is a subject ripe for serious books, according to Sam Tanenhaus, senior editor of The New York Times Book Review and himself the author of a critical analysis of the right, 2009’s “Death of Conservatism.”

The tea party is “the latest chapter in the insurgency that defined movement conservatism,” Tanenhaus said, explaining that the Times Book Review would likely “preview” most of the batch of upcoming books and decide which ones are worth a full review “on the basis of the merits and interest of each book … If it’s a serious important book on a topic of interest, then our readers deserve to know about it.”

France to raise retirement age to 62/Coming soon to the U.S.

The change is expected to come into place in 2018 as part of an effort to get the country’s spiralling public finances under control.

The move has been strongly opposed by the opposition Socialist Party and labour unions, but Eric Woerth, the labour minister, said the measure was a “real moral obligation,” given France’s burgeoning deficit and its aging population, which he said threatens the viability of the money-losing pension system.

The French budget deficit was at 7.5 per cent of gross domestic product last year. The conservative government has vowed to bring it under 3 per cent – the threshold set by the European Union – by 2013. The Greek crisis has given added urgency to France’s plans to cut back.

Mr Woerth said the reform will bring France more into line with other European countries, which have raised retirement ages and taken other measures to slash budget deficits.

In Germany the retirement age has been raised from 65 to 67, while Britain may increase it to 68. But polls suggest the French are loath to work longer.

“If we want end our pension system’s debts, working longer is unavoidable,” said Mr Woerth.

The reform will save nearly €19 billion (£15.7 billion) in 2018 and should bring the pension system back into the black that year, he said.

The Cabinet is to discuss the proposals in July, and they are expected to go before parliament next autumn.

Last month, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that tackling 30 years of accumulated deficits was now a “national priority.” That came just months after France unveiled a €35 billion “Big Loan” aimed at spurring France’s moribund economy into life.

Other recent measures aimed at getting the deficit under control include a three-year spending freeze and a crackdown on tax loopholes.

Uptick in Violence Forces Closing of Parkland Along Mexico Border to Americans

About 3,500 acres of southern Arizona have been closed off to U.S. citizens due to increased violence at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The closed off area includes part of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge that stretches along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu told Fox News that violence against law enforcement officers and U.S. citizens has increased in the past four months, forcing officers on an 80 mile stretch of Arizona land north of the Mexico border off-limits to Americans.

The refuge had been adversely affected by the increase in drug smugglers, illegal activity and surveillance, which made it dangerous for Americans to visit.

“The situation in this zone has reached a point where continued public use of the area is not prudent,” said refuge manager Mitch Ellis.

“It’s literally out of control,” said Babeu. “We stood with Senator McCain and literally demanded support for 3,000 soldiers to be deployed to Arizona to get this under control and finally secure our border with Mexico. “

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials have warned visitors in Arizona to beware of heavily armed drug smugglers and human traffickers.

“We need support from the federal government. It’s their job to secure the border and they haven’t done it,” said Babeu. “In fact, President Obama suspended the construction of the fence and it’s just simply outrageous.”

Signs have been posted warning Americans not to cross into the closed off territory south of Interstate 8. Babeu said the signs are not enough – he said Arizona needs more resources to help scale back the violence caused by the drug cartels.

“We need action. It’s shameful that we, as the most powerful nation on Earth, … can’t even secure our own border and protect our own families.”


We had no idea that this was such a provocative question – and we wanted to find out why it’s such a dangerous line of inquiry. So at great risk to our own personal safety, we took our cameras to the underground walkways of Chicago, the epicenter of Obamamania, to see if the question was just as dangerous to ask here as it is in D.C. What we discovered will shock you. Viewer discretion is advised.

The President’s Oil Reserves Lie

By Chad Stafko

Tuesday night, following a tour of the Gulf Coast area, the President of the United States addressed the nation regarding the state of the BP oil spill. In his speech from the Oval Office, President Obama spoke regarding our nation’s dependence upon oil and how we need to break that dependence.

During his speech, the President made a statement that was blatantly false. The President noted, “We consume more than 20% of the world’s oil, but have less than 2% of the world’s oil reserve. And that’s part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean — because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.”

We are not running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water. In fact, it is due to the President’s party of extreme environmentalists that BP had to drill some 40 miles from the coastline in deep waters to extract oil. Imagine if this oil leak had happened in the shallow waters off of the East Coast or even, dare we say it, in the pristine ANWR region. How much easier it would have been to cap the leak and clean up the oil.

Consider our nation’s vast oil reserve resources that are currently unavailable for use due to government ownership of the land or outright bans on drilling in certain areas.

According to a June 2008 article in Kiplinger Magazine, the United States has enough oil reserves to power the nation for upwards of three centuries. That’s three-hundred years, Mr. President. We are not running out of oil reserves, it’s just that those oil reserves have been declared off limits due to decades of environmental lobbying of our politicians, especially those on the Left. This lobbying has driven the likes of BP and others out deep into the Gulf of Mexico to extract the nation’s needed oil.

Note the following statement from the article:

“…untapped reserves are estimated at about 2.3 trillion barrels, nearly three times more than the reserves held by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC) and sufficient to meet 300 years of demand-at today’s levels-for auto, aircraft, heating and industrial fuel, without importing a single barrel of oil.”

Think about that. The nations that currently hold us hostage by their massive oil production actually have far less reserves than our own nation. Put another way, some of the very nations in which we are dependent upon oil are also the same nations that help to sponsor worldwide terrorism. Were we to extract our own oil, it would make our nation and the world a safer place. But, isn’t a spotted owl more important than the safety of the world?

Among the areas the article mentions are the oil shale located underneath land in Colorado, Wyoming, and in Utah. These lands are federally protected, but they alone could provide about 200 years worth of oil for the nation. Others mentioned include oil reserves located under Montana and some reserves located on protected lands in Texas, California, Utah, and Kentucky.

In fact, our own government has acknowledged the vast oil resources available to us. In an April 2008 study conducted by the United States Geological Survey, the group began its press release with the following, “North Dakota and Montana have an estimated 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil in an area known as the Bakken Formation.”

The report acknowledges that the available oil reserves could be much larger, but the 3.0 to 4.3 billion figure represents oil recoverable right now with today’s technology. In fact, there may more than 100 billion barrels eventually recoverable with continued developments in the technology necessary to extract the oil.

Then there is the most famous government-blocked area of oil reserves, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuges (ANWR). With 10 billion barrels available, ANWR is the most accessible of the major untapped oil reserve locations in the United States and claims are that this oil could be extracted in a way that would have minimal negative environmental impact.

Yet, with all of these resources, here we sit, importing oil at a feverish pace and a significant portion of it from our enemies and those who support terrorist organizations around the world. And, here we sit watching oil float towards our shores through unnecessary deep-water drilling when we could be drilling on dry land.

Yes, the President is correct when he calls for the need to use more alternative energy sources. Some of these may, in the long-term, actually be more efficient than the use of oil and be more readily accessible. However, until then we would be wise to tap our God-given resources in the safest of areas first before we go drilling more than a mile beneath the ocean for the same fuel that is available on dry land.

Therefore, if we’re tossing all the blame towards BP for this catastrophic oil spill then we’re ignoring other perpetrators. The reason BP and other oil companies are drilling 40+ miles off the shoreline and more than a mile deep is because of the stranglehold that environmentalists have held on politicians and their resulting energy policies for decades.

Let’s use some common sense. Drill first on land, then in water. It’s really not that difficult.

Residents get 6 votes each in suburban NY election

AP – This photo provided by the Port Chester, N.Y., village clerk shows the ballot for the election of six …


PORT CHESTER, N.Y. – Arthur Furano voted early — five days before Election Day. And he voted often, flipping the lever six times for his favorite candidate. Furano cast multiple votes on the instructions of a federal judge and the U.S. Department of Justice as part of a new election system crafted to help boost Hispanic representation.

Voters in Port Chester, 25 miles northeast of New York City, are electing village trustees for the first time since the federal government alleged in 2006 that the existing election system was unfair. The election ends Tuesday and results are expected late Tuesday.

Although the village of about 30,000 residents is nearly half Hispanic, no Latino had ever been elected to any of the six trustee seats, which until now were chosen in a conventional at-large election. Most voters were white, and white candidates always won.

Federal Judge Stephen Robinson said that violated the Voting Rights Act, and he approved a remedy suggested by village officials: a system called cumulative voting, in which residents get six votes each to apportion as they wish among the candidates. He rejected a government proposal to break the village into six districts, including one that took in heavily Hispanic areas.

Furano and his wife, Gloria Furano, voted Thursday.

“That was very strange,” Arthur Furano, 80, said after voting. “I’m not sure I liked it. All my life, I’ve heard, `one man, one vote.'”

It’s the first time any municipality in New York has used cumulative voting, said Amy Ngai, a director at FairVote, a nonprofit election research and reform group that has been hired to consult. The system is used to elect the school board in Amarillo, Texas, the county commission in Chilton County, Ala., and the City Council in Peoria, Ill.

The judge also ordered Port Chester to implement in-person early voting, allowing residents to show up on any of five days to cast ballots. That, too, is a first in New York, Ngai said.

Village clerk Joan Mancuso said Monday that 604 residents voted early.

Gloria Furano gave one vote each to six candidates. Aaron Conetta gave two votes each to three candidates.

Frances Nurena talked to the inspectors about the new system, grabbed some educational material and went home to study. After all, it was only Thursday. She could vote on Friday, Saturday or Tuesday.

“I understand the voting,” she said. “But since I have time, I’m going to learn more about the candidates.”

On Tuesday, Candida Sandoval voted at the Don Bosco Center, where a soup kitchen and day-laborer hiring center added to the activity, and where federal observers watched the voting from a table in the corner.

“I hope that if Hispanics get in, they do something for all the Hispanic people,” Sandoval said in Spanish. “I don’t know, but I hope so.”

FairVote said cumulative voting allows a political minority to gain representation if it organizes and focuses its voting strength on specific candidates. Two of the 13 Port Chester trustee candidates — one Democrat and one Republican — are Hispanic. A third Hispanic is running a write-in campaign after being taken off the ballot on a technicality.

Campaigning was generally low key, and the election itself was less of an issue than housing density and taxes.

Hispanic candidates Fabiola Montoya and Luis Marino emphasized their volunteer work and said they would represent all residents if elected.

Gregg Gregory gave all his votes to one candidate, then said: “I think this is terrific. It’s good for Port Chester. It opens it up to a lot more people, not just Hispanics but independents, too.”

Vote coordinator Martha Lopez said that if turnout is higher than in recent years, when it hovered around 25 percent, the election would be a success — regardless of whether a Hispanic was elected.

“I think we’ll make it,” she said. “I’m happy to report the people seem very interested.”

But Randolph McLaughlin, who represented a plaintiff in the lawsuit, said the goal was not merely to encourage more Hispanics to vote but “to create a system whereby the Hispanic community would be able to nominate and elect a candidate of their choice.”

That could be a non-Hispanic, he acknowledged, and until exit polling is done, “it won’t be known for sure whether the winners were Hispanic-preferred.”

The village held 12 forums — six each in English and Spanish — to let voters know about the new system and to practice voting. The bilingual ballot lists each candidate across the top row — some of them twice if they have two party lines — and then the same candidates are listed five more times. In all, there are 114 levers; voters can flip any six.

Besides the forums, bright yellow T-shirts, tote bags and lawn signs declared “Your voice, your vote, your village,” part of the educational materials also mandated in the government agreement. Announcements were made on cable TV in each language.

All such materials — the ballot, the brochures, the TV spots, the reminders sent home in schoolkids’ backpacks — had to be approved in advance, in English and Spanish versions, by the Department of Justice.

Conetta said the voter education effort was so thorough he found voting easier than usual.

“It was very different but actually quite simple,” he said. “No problem.”

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